Birthday’s only come once a year. As such, when they do finally roll around, it’s only natural to want to celebrate—and that means a birthday party. Throwing a birthday bash in your apartment (either for yourself or for a friend) is a fun and memorable way to recognize the importance of the people in your life. But between picking a time that will work for all of your guests, sending out invites, and finding the appropriate type of entertainment to jump out of the cake (or not), many party throwers forget to focus on one aspect of the festivities that should never be overlooked: the decorations.
As a result, you might end up either settling for cliché, subpar decorations, or worse, provide no decorations at all. However, the décor that adorns the party space is the first, most-clear indication of what the party is all about. If the decorations have obviously been thrown together at the last minute, or neglected completely, then what does that say to guests? What does it say about the person whose birthday everyone is supposed to be celebrating?
On the other hand, a well-decorated space can help retain a birthday party’s focus, directing the attention towards the birthday boy or girl in a way that other party elements cannot. Decorations also help guests relax and get into the spirit of the celebration, and even provide easy conversation pieces for those who might be having trouble socializing.
Build a balloon mosaic. If you really want to impress your guests—and you have a lot of available wall space—consider creating a balloon mosaic. Gather as many small balloons as you can (water balloons work particularly well for this project) in as many different colors as possible. Separate out the colors, and then tape them to the wall so that the combined colors form an image. You can be as simple as you like (using the balloons to spell out ‘happy birthday’), or, if you feel up to it, you can go for something a bit more complex (a pixel-art version of the guest of honor would certainly turn a few heads).
Now, generally speaking, unless you’re throwing a party for children, balloons probably aren’t going to blow anyone’s mind. Still, these gas-filled latex bags have become one of the decorations most commonly associated with birthday parties, so incorporating them into your décor goes almost without saying. But rather than just grabbing a handful of colored balloons, filling them with helium, and forgetting about them until someone decides that they want to sound like one of the chipmunks, considers these unique balloon decoration ideas for a birthday party at home:
Make balloon caricatures. If you are of the artistic persuasion, there’s a simple way that you can turn average balloons into fun, personalized party favors. Just take an uninflated balloon, and use a black permanent marker to draw a quick character of one of your guests. Do the same for every other guest, and then fill the balloons with helium. As the balloons expand, the drawings will become distorted, creating wacky misrepresentations of your friends. Tie each balloon to a bag of party favors, and then have the guests try to locate which bag belongs to whom. Just be careful, some guests may not feel very flattered by your caricatures.
Use glow sticks. Make your balloons glow by placing a small glow stick into each one before inflating them. If you plan on keeping the lights dimmed during the party, these glowing balloons will provide a fun splash of extra illumination, and can be tossed or kicked around for various party games, or even placed in water as floating pool lights. And if you are planning on holding your party at night, a few of these balloons, filled with helium, and placed outside of your apartment door are a great way to let your guests know that they’ve found the right building.
Construct a balloon photograph tribute. A birthday is really a celebration of life, so make a tribute to your guest of honor by attaching small photographs from his or her childhood to helium balloons via short strings. If you can find the right weight balance, these photos will actually float around the room, giving everyone a glimpse into the life of the birthday boy or girl.
Create confetti poppers. This particular tip is only for those die-hard hosts who don’t mind a little bit of cleanup. Fill your balloons with colorful confetti before inflating them. Then at a predetermined point in the party (such as at the conclusion of singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song) have the guests all pop the balloons at once. The resultant confetti explosion will go everywhere, and remind the guest of honor just how far you’re willing to go to celebrate their birthday.
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